Motorcycle Sport & Leisure

Post-Brexit, can we still tour mainland Europe without hassle?

Post-Brexit, can we still tour mainland Europe without hassle?

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Thinking of taking your bike to Europe this summer (if Covid and lockdowns permit)? The short answer is that you can, but there’s a bit more hassle involved, with new rules applying now that Brexit has finally happened. You’ll need an insurance Green Card – the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) is on the way out – and you’ll have to leave the ham sandwiches at home.

Britain finally left the EU at the end of 2020, with the new rules coming into force at 11pm on December 31. So what do you need to know?

Passport?

You’ll need it, and Government advice is that it should be less than 10 years old and have at least six months to run. Doesn’t apply to Ireland though.

Visa?

No problem here. As a UK tourist, you won’t need a visa for short trips to most EU countries and some non-EU ones

(Iceland, Liechenste­in, Norway and Sweden) for up to 90 days in any 180-day period, which is long enough for most of us. However, different rules apply for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania because they aren’t within the Schengen area.

GB Sticker?

Now you’ll need one again, even if your number plate has the EU/GB symbol.

Insurance?

You will need a Green Card (proof that you have minimum third party cover), for which you need to apply to your insurance company. According to Globebuste­rs, this could take up to six weeks, so doing it well in advance is a good idea. Some insurers may issue it as a downloadab­le document which you print out yourself.

Driving Licence?

If you have a UK issued pink photocard driving licence, then you won’t need an IDP (Internatio­nal Driving Permit) to ride in the EU, nor in Switzerlan­d, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenst­ein. If you still have an old paper licence, you may need one though.

EHIC - European Health Insurance Card?

EHIC, the card which entitles you to medical care throughout the EU, is being phased out. Current EHICs will still be valid until their expiry date and you can also get a provisiona­l replacemen­t certificat­e (PRC) if you need treatment and don’t have an EHIC. Once your EHIC has expired, you can apply for the new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This does the same job, but won’t cover you in Iceland, Switzerlan­d or Liechtenst­ein. If travelling here, you should have travel insurance with health cover. Norway is different again. A transition­al agreement means your UK passport will get you access to health care. As for the ‘Global’ tag, that doesn’t mean the new GHIC works all over the world (sadly), only covering existing reciprocal arrangemen­ts with the EU and some Commonweal­th countries. As with EHIC, this only provides for state health care free or at reduced cost, not repatriati­on costs – for that sort of more comprehens­ive cover, you’ll need private travel insurance.

What happens at the border?

Much the same, though you will need to take a separate lane from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queuing – can’t see it being a big problem on the Dover-Calais run.

Bacon Butties?

You didn’t misread that. After Brexit you can’t take meat, milk or products containing them into Europe, though there are exceptions – check rules on the European Commission website.

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 ??  ?? LEFT: Photocard driving licence means you won’t need an IDP, and EHIC is valid until it expires ABOVE: The EU is still your motorcycli­ng oyster
LEFT: Photocard driving licence means you won’t need an IDP, and EHIC is valid until it expires ABOVE: The EU is still your motorcycli­ng oyster

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